For immediate release | August 16, 2011

RUSA’s fall online learning: health reference, spatial literacy, readers advisory and more

CHICAGO — The Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) fall online learning schedule is now available and includes new courses on health reference and spatial literacy.

RUSA’s online learning opportunities are open to any interested participant. Topics are relevant to a variety of library professionals and library types, including public, academic and special libraries. With the exception of Readers Advisory 101, all courses are asynchronous—participants log into the course at and complete weekly coursework at their own pace.

Group discounts are available for two or more participants registering from the same library, library system or network. More information about RUSA’s online learning opportunities is available at the RUSA website. Questions about registration for both groups and individuals should be sent to the ALA registration team at

  • Introduction to Spatial Literacy and Online Mapping: Sept. 26-Oct. 14

    Through podcasts and hands-on assignments, participants in “Introduction to Spatial Literacy and Online Mapping” will explore uses for geographic information systems (GIS) technology within organizations and also its social uses beyond simple cartography. The course also covers the how-to of online mapping tools such as Google Earth, ArcExplorer, Scribble Maps and Google Maps. The course content is especially relevant for public or reference librarians who want to organize information in a visual or geographic way to benefit the work of the library, to make information available to the community or any number of needs. Registration will be open on Friday, Aug. 19. Get more information.
  • *NEW COURSE!* Health Information 101: Sept. 26-Nov. 7

    During this six week course, participants will demystify and decode medical terminology and then learn the basics of evidence-based biomedical literature searching. They’ll also learn how to systematically evaluate a health website and then look at some the best of best sites for medical, pharmaceutical and drug information. The course also addresses health literacy issues and how to create partnerships with hospital and academic medical librarians through the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Registration will open on Friday, Aug. 19, and more information will be available at that time at the RUSA Online Learning page.
  • Business Reference 101: Sept. 19 - Oct.14 and Oct. 24-Nov. 18

    Appropriate for librarians and library staff of all types who wish to acquire business reference expertise, Business Reference 101 will demystify such topics as SIC, NAICS codes, ROI and 10ks. Students will also have access to such proprietary business reference databases as Standard & Poor’s Net Advantage and Thomson/Gale’s Business & Company Resource Center. This consistently sold-out course will be taught by Celia Ross, past chair of RUSA’s Brass section and an experienced facilitator and practitioner in the business reference field. Get more information or register now.
  • Readers’ Advisory 101: Oct. 10-Nov. 27

    Through practice sessions, participants will learn from instructor and RA expert Joyce Saricks how to use RA tools, craft annotations, read in genres, articulate appeal and experiment with methods to offer RA services. Readers' Advisory 101 is tailored for those at all types of libraries—support staff, library technicians, newly hired reference librarians and those librarians who want to brush up on their skills. The topics covered are introductory in nature. This course has scheduled weekly meeting times. Get more information or register now.
  • Genealogy 101: Sept. 19-Oct. 21

    This course is designed for reference staff with little to no experience in genealogy. Using a case study to frame the coursework, participants will learn about tools and techniques they can use to confidently assist patrons with family history research. A review of archival material, print reference tools and online sources is included in the curriculum. Get more information or register now.
  • The Reference Interview: Nov. 1-Dec. 9

    This comprehensive course covers such reference interview topics as cultivating an approachable reference environment, successful questioning and listening techniques and appropriate follow-up methods. Staff of all levels at all types of libraries will find this content, presented in a multi-media format, helpful in their day-to-day engagement with library patrons. Get more information or register now.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Not a member, but interested in discounted registration rates on conference, preconferences and other events? Join, renew or add RUSA to your ALA membership at Learn more about the association at


Elizabeth Markel